Aristotle Theory on Art


Aristotle considered imitation as the primary method of learning since childhood. He attributed the origin of art to the human affinity for imitation. He concluded that it is natural for humans to take delight in the works of imitation.The manner in which the object is presented is the final way to evaluate art. Aristotle’s theory on art examines art as a production of science. The quality of the object produced determines the merit of the art. The message of the artist may be absent or unclear, but if the object itself is a nearly perfect imitation, it could be considered a wonderful piece of art.

According to Aristotle, tragedy is an imitation/ representation using medium, object and manner, where pity and tremor are the proper strong emotions natural of a tragedy- plot, characters, diction, reasoning, spectacle and song; plot is the most important.He claims that one who focuses on the world are not realistic, but idealistic because the world is an illusion. The poet gives an access to reality. History only gives access to the surface of the world. This means history and historians deal with what happened in the particular times. While a direct access to the universal truths. A poet is a composer of a plot.

Aristotle ignores all conceptions of an absolute beauty and at the same time seeks to distinguish the beautiful from the good. He seeks in the meta physics to distinguish the god from the beautiful, the good is always in action. He beautiful however may exist in motionless things as well. He also says that good under certain conditions can be called beautiful.

He handles the mimesis theory in is own words. According to him beauty is enjoyed with eyes so it cannot be related to goodness to truth or to utility. Beauty can be movable or stable and goodness arises from action which is always moving.

He could trace the beginning or the origin of art when there was no civilisation; civilizations arrived with art. The earliest mode of civilizations start from Greece and Rome. According to him the objective world an idea and matter are together. He further says a person should be guided by intellect in his creativity or otherwise it is useless. He destroys the soul in order to give it immortality. The immortal soul is pure thought; the form of art is an imitation of reality.

-Akanksha Khanna

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